1. What exactly is heritage? Is any old building heritage?
Any legacy, whether built or natural, or associated with persons, traditions and ways of life can be broadly called heritage. An example of architectural heritage that is also closely linked to the founder of Bengaluru are the Kempegowda Towers in our city.
Bengaluru's natural heritage survives in Lalbagh and Cubbon Park, for example, or our many tanks and lakes.
Our food and festivals are a strong reminder of the city's diverse cultural heritage as the city embraces a variety of ethnic groups and communities and their traditions.
2. And why should I care about heritage? Why should we protect heritage?
We could wax eloquent about this, but briefly: Our heritage, whether cultural or natural, is an immense and irreplaceable source of life, inspiration, identity and livelihood; we all carry a bit of the past within us. Heritage helps us understand our culture and its diversity, and recognise the links between different peoples. And finally, protecting our heritage actually makes good economic sense. If intelligently done and well-managed, heritage attracts tourists and creates jobs.
3. I am the owner of an old house. Will INTACH provide funds to help me preserve it?
As a voluntary, non-profit organisation, INTACH cannot provide you funds to restore you house. However, we can advice you on restoration/conservation and can also do the job for you.
4. So who can join INTACH? Do I have to be an architect/historian/archaeologist to join INTACH?
Are you interested in heritage protection and conservation? Then you can join INTACH. At the Bangalore chapter, we do have a sprinkling of architects, but we also have financial analysts, engineers, writers and techies.
5. And what can I expect from my membership? What are the benefits of joining INTACH?
The biggest benefit of joining INTACH is that you become a part of a nationwide family of volunteers, all with a common cause. Apart from this, all members get
- - a copy of the annual newsletter detailing all the work done by Chapters across the country
- - a quarterly magazine, Virasat, which focuses on various conservation projects undertaken by the members
- - invitations to INTACH events and lectures in their city
- - a helping hand in any heritage project adopted by a member, that is within the purview of INTACH objectives.
- - and, thanks to our being a national trust, INTACHers can also avail a discount on entry fees in some UK heritage properties.
6. How much time does one need to commit as a member?
As a volunteer member, you work at your pace and convenience. Specific projects, like an inter-school competition of traditional games or a heritage walk might require your involvement over short bursts of time like a weekend. Our active core member team meets about once a month, but stays in constant touch over email.
7. Okay, how do I sign up for membership?
Please go to www.intach.org and select the Join INTACH - Become a Member link.
8. In what activities will I be involved?
One of the Chapter's projects where we could do with extra hands is the listing of Bangalore's heritage. For more details, please go to our other projects section. As we take stock, literally, of our city's natural, material and built heritage, that is rapidly depleting, we find the need for volunteers who can contribute in various ways. Legal, marketing, fund raising, writing, sketching, research, design, photography skills are some of the areas of speciality we're looking for!
Another project that is close to our hearts is the revival of traditional board games. Again, more details are available in our products section. For this project, we need volunteers who can interact with schools - private, municipal, government etc - to introduce the games to students, train teachers to conduct inter-class competitions and finally, put together an event where these various schools will come together to display their new-found skills. Or if you like dabbling in design or have an eye for colours, help us design kid-friendly games. As the project gathers steam, one idea is to add more board games and bring in more interested kids into the ambit. If you speak Kannada fluently and like interacting with students and teachers, you're right up there on our wish list.
9. I don't think I'll join just yet. Is there any other way of contributing to INTACH?
Well, you could always volunteer your time with us, whenever you can. And support our cause. All contributions to INTACH (except membership subscriptions and purchase of INTACH products and publications) get a 50% deduction under Section 80C of the Indian Income Tax Act.